Sister Anne Towey died July 8, 2020 at Saint Joseph Villa. Reflecting on the many diverse ministries of her religious life, Anne recalled the words of Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick who in 1847 experienced the Sisters’
“. . . generous spirit ready for any good work.”
Anne boasted her Emerald-Isle heritage from her birth on July 24, 1924 to Irish-born parents Martin and Catherine Rush Towey. She and her three sisters and brother were raised in the former Saint Columba Parish, now Saint Martin De Porres. Originally residing on Garnet Street the close-knit family moved to Somerset to accommodate the family’s growth. Anne shared a loving relationship with all her relatives whom she acquired through subsequent marriages and births.
Anne worked as an Accountant Secretary for Blue Cross of Philadelphia. In 1945 she entered the Congregation under the sponsorship of Sister Daniel Joseph her seventh grade teacher whom she remembered with a tender fondness. Anne received the name Sister Clare Isabelle. Her saga of ministries began as a teacher of grades three to eight. In 1960 she began a fifteen-year high school teaching career at Notre Dame in Easton, Pennsylvania. In addition to a full-time teaching schedule, English I, II, III, IV, she moderated newspapers and yearbooks, was a school counselor and studies director and was commissioned by the Military to have eligible students sign up for the draft. In 1978 she opted for a different path of ministry. As a certified Family Counselor she worked in Allentown, Pennsylvania where she provided counseling and therapy. Continuing this work at the Catholic Social Agency, she eventually assumed the supervision of the Refugee Assistance and Resettlement Program necessitated by the influx of refugees after the Fall of Saigon. This work sponsored by the United States Catholic Conference absorbed five counties of the Allentown Diocese and thirteen counties of the Scranton Diocese. It included assisting undocumented persons globally to become United States citizens. Sister Anne relished the satisfying rewards of this ministry; yet she never boasted of this selfless service to God’s people.
Being “ready for any good work” is nurtured by a deeply graced commitment to prayer where the Sister of Saint Joseph “allows the Divine Presence to transform her as she reaches out to all people.” – Constitutions, Prayer Life. We rejoice that our Sister Anne Towey, receives for all eternity the reward of our Triune God for her selfless, kind and generous readiness “for any good work.”